INCIDENCE OF DECOMPRESSION SICKNESS IN HIGH ALTITUDE GLIDER OPERATIONS
Keywords:Training and Safety, Health, Physiology
AbstractHigh altitude glider operations possess the potential for causing decompression sickness (DCS), as a consequence of the altitudes reached and the times spent at those altitudes. The risk, and therefore the incidence, should be higher in glider pilots than in military pilots, because of the general lack of preventive measures taken in soaring. This paper dirusses DCS in general, the risk in glider operations, and describes a study now underrvay to establish the incidence of DCS in the glider community. DCS is the medical condition which occurs as a result of a reduction in ambient barometric pressure to such a degree that dissolved inert gas in the blood and tissues comes out of solution and forms bubbles. It is most commonly associated with diving, but also occurs in the aviation environment. DCS is a likely side effect of high altitude glider operations, but is a risk which can be minimized through the use of proper preventive techniques. A study is currently underway to determine the size of the DCS problem in gliding, and the results will be further reported.
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